Food used to be at the centre of our lives. A home-cooked meal, eaten together was a time to talk and strengthen family relationships. We would spend a good portion of our income keeping ourselves well fed. We’d spend more of our time shopping, cooking and eating. This is still the way of life in France and Italy and is the secret of the famously healthy ‘Mediterranean Diet’. Fresh simple food, cooked with love and eaten with gratitude.
If this doesn’t describe your relationship with food, perhaps you could treat yourself to a change this Christmas. Most people get some time off work so you could make some delicious meals and spend time really enjoying eating.
I made my Christmas cake in November (to my grandmother’s recipe, complete with marmalade). Mince pies were last week’s job.A recent article by a cardiologist in the British Medical Journal confirmed that saturated fat does not cause heart disease so I had no qualms about using all butter for the pastry. They melt in the mouth. No sugar on top though – I didn’t want them all sickly like bought ones.
Christmas dinner is my favourite meal of the year. It takes some making and the secret is for everyone to help. Some can chop veg, some can peel potatoes, some can lay the table, others can wash up afterwards. My grandfather liked to make the starter (right up to the age of 94). Even children can do something.
I know there are some famous retailers offering to make your Christmas easier in exchange for lots of your money – just come and buy the lot. They’re missing the point. When you get people involved, the whole experience can be fun rather than a chore. The food I cook at home is tastier and better for me than pre-prepared food. If you’re a good cook who doesn’t use vegetable oil or add lots of salt and sugar to everything, the same could be true for you. As I celebrate remembering the time when God came in human form to save us, I’ll also celebrate the bounty of the earth and be thankful for the privilege of being able to eat well.
Top tip: Celebrate good food this Christmas.
Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.